The Seattle Kraken have patiently waited and watched the NHL coaching landscape change dramatically over the last several months, biding their time before hiring the first coach in franchise history. If they have had any interviews to this point they haven’t been made public, but that is about to change. NHL insider Frank Seravalli reports that the Kraken will interview Rick Tocchet after he parted ways with the Arizona Coyotes earlier this month. They have also interviewed Toronto Maple Leafs director of pro scouting Troy Bodie for a front office position, according to Seravalli.
The Kraken aren’t the only team after Tocchet though. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet tweets that the New York Rangers will also interview the former Coyotes coach for their own head coaching vacancy.
Tocchet, 57, was head coach of the Coyotes for the last four seasons, but decided to part ways with the organization in order to pursue other opportunities. During his time there the team went 125-131-34 while making the playoffs just once. That was last year, when the Coyotes managed to defeat the Nashville Predators in the qualifying round only to be sent home quickly by the Colorado Avalanche. One of the things Tocchet was always lauded for was his ability to get the best out of inconsistent talents–namely Phil Kessel, who did have a bit of a resurgence this season scoring 43 points in 56 games to lead the Coyotes.
In Seattle, he would be given the difficult task of bringing players from 30 different organizations together under one roof and competing as the NHL’s newest franchise. He wouldn’t be doing it alone, obviously, joining Kraken GM and former teammate Ron Francis. Francis and Tocchet won a Stanley Cup together with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992 after the latter was brought over from the Philadelphia Flyers at the deadline. They would both score 100+ points the following season, the best offensive year of Tocchet’s career.
Of course, even though the Seattle job is an appealing one, New York’s appeal is never something to overlook. The Rangers have an excellent young core that looks poised to take the next step toward Stanley Cup contention and are looking for a coach to lead them to the playoffs immediately. When the Rangers hired former head coach David Quinn away from Boston University, they gave him a five-year, $12MM deal even despite his lack of NHL experience. Tocchet earned just $6MM over his four years with Arizona.